Omnivore’s Dilemma

Posted by Rezwan Razani on Jul 07, 2013 at 08:10 AM
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Author: Michael Pollan

With NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) on my mind, let’s take a look at books that explain how our Back Yard got to be that way. 

This one is about our food supply and shows how energy use has shaped it.  Thrill to the story of the Faber Bosch fertilizer process.  Be amazed at the story of corn - that freakish mutant plant - and that was before Monsanto got its hands on it.  Weep at the sight of monotonous fields of corn, far removed from the ideal of the farm.  Stand helpless at the treadmill of farm profitability.  Consider the steady poisoning of California’s farm land with salt as the irrigation residue builds up. 

This is a great book to read as you prepare to write the “Alternative Energy Futures Cookbook.”  Bon apetit!

Humans were clearly designed to eat all manner of meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains. But, as Pollan points out, America’s farmers have succeeded so wildly that today’s fundamental agricultural issue has become how to deal sensibly with overproduction. The result of this surfeit of grain is behemoth corn processors, who have commoditized the Aztecs’ sacred grain and developed ways to separate corn into products wholly removed from its original kernels. This excess food and Americans’ wealth and rapid-paced lifestyles now yield supersized portions of less-than-nutritious eatables. Pollan contrasts the technologically driven life on an Iowa corn farm’s feedlots with the thriving organic farm movement supplying retailers such as Whole Foods. Pollan also addresses issues of vegetarianism and flesh eating, hunting for game, and foraging for mushrooms. Throughout, he takes care to consider all sides of issues, and he avoids jingoistic answers. Although much of this subject has been treated elsewhere, Pollan’s easy writing style and unique approach freshen this contemporary debate. Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

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 Omnivore’s Dilemma

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